Release 05.HAL7
August 9, 2005

Hawaiian Airlines Pilots Blast Trustee’s “Success Fee” Request

HONOLULU, HAWAII -- A move by Hawaiian Airlines’ former bankruptcy trustee to squeeze millions more dollars from the airline is ludicrous, according to the head of the union representing Hawaiian Airlines pilots.

Hawaiian Airlines Bankruptcy Trustee Joshua Gotbaum filed a motion in federal bankruptcy court late Monday seeking an $8 million “success fee” now that the airline has exited bankruptcy. Hawaiian emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.

“This alleged ‘success fee’ is an outrage,” said Capt. Kirk McBride, chairman of the Hawaiian Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA). “It showcases everything that is wrong about the abuse of the bankruptcy process in the airline industry.”

“Hawaiian was--and is--a profitable airline. The Hawaiian Airlines bankruptcy only happened because of a corporate strategy to strong-arm aircraft manufacturers. It was called a sham bankruptcy by the President of ALPA, it didn’t need to happen. Josh Gotbaum added nothing to the outcome except more delays and a siphoning off of millions of dollars that would otherwise have been invested in making a better airline,” McBride said.

"The Trustee has already been over-compensated for his time here, including free travel and health care, and other lavish corporate perks. This ridiculous fee request represents more than 20 percent of the yearly pilot payroll for our 300 pilots. It should be denied by the bankruptcy court as another unconscionable raid on the Company treasury. If anything, we believe Mr. Gotbaum owes Hawaiian Airlines a refund rather than a success fee, based on the fact that the bankruptcy court authorized Mr. Gotbaum’s salary as interim pay,” McBride argued. 

“Hawaiian Airlines’ success in coming out of bankruptcy is due to the millions of dollars that pilots and other employees have forfeited in pay, benefits, work rules and quality of life. We are confident that the judge will not permit the pockets of every Hawaiian employee to be picked for another undeserved bonus to Mr. Gotbaum. We will still be here, serving the airline and its customers, long after he has packed his bags and moved back to New York.”

Headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaiian Airlines is the nation’s 12th-largest carrier, with 135 daily flights flown by 300 pilots who operate a fleet of B-717 and B-767 aircraft.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots’ union, representing 64,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at

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ALPA CONTACT: Capt. Kirk McBride, (808) 836-2572; Rusty Ayers, (773) 284-4910